When I first received the schedule of events to give me an idea of what I’d be doing while down in Daytona Beach for the Coke Zero 400, I noticed that the very first item on the agenda was a concert by Atomic Tom. As a music buff, my first reaction was always going to be excitement, but my second reaction was concern over why the name “Atomic Tom” didn’t mean anything to me. I thought, “Geez, I know I’m a full-time TV critic these days, but am I really that far out of touch with the current music scene?” I absolutely am, of course, but in this case, I felt slightly less out of the loop to learn that Atomic Tom are currently still sitting on the precipice of major success, as their debut album for Universal / Republic won’t be out ’til later this year. When that happens, however, I’d say the odds are pretty decent that they could find themselves as big as The Killers or The Bravery…and if that should come to pass, no one would be more thrilled about it than Dodge, who have teamed up with Atomic Tom as part of a new promotion aligning people’s passion for cars with their passion for music.
When I arrived at the Dodge dealership in Daytona for Atomic Tom’s performance, it was suggested that I might want to sit down with the guys in the band for a chat, and since even with my current TV vs. music handicap, I still know wayyyyyyy more about music than I do about cars, I didn’t hesitate for a moment to break out my recorder. The only problem…? I was just off my flight and hadn’t had much of a chance to do my usual pre-interview research. As such, I tried to break the ice by casually acknowledging my lack of knowledge on the group’s back story.
Bullz-Eye: So, first, if you don’t mind, you could really save me a bit of time if you’d just go ahead and run through the complete history of the band… (Laughs)
Tobias Smith: Well, wait, who are you? (Laughs)
BE: Oh, I’m just this guy, you know?
TS: (Laughs) You’re a live blogger, is that right?
BE: Oh, God, no. I’m not that fast. (Laughs) I’m a writer and editor for a web magazine called Bullz-Eye.com.
TS: Where are you based?
BE: Norfolk, VA. Virginia Beach, that whole area.
Luke White: I’m from Virginia. A little north of you, though. Manassas.
Eric Espiritus: I’m from Fairfax, actually.
BE: Nice. Well, I was born at Norfolk General, and I never really left.
TS: Well, you’re here now! (Laughs) So what’s the site like? Do you talk a lot about music?
BE: It’s pop culture, across the board. It’s a guy’s site, really. It started mostly as an excuse to put up bikini girls and sports scores, but it’s evolved quite a bit. Don’t worry, though: there’s still a lot of bikini girls. No nudity, though.
TS: Well, that’s good, because we’re a family… (Hesitates) We’re not really a family band, are we? But we don’t have any swearing in our music, though.
Philip Galitzine: No, we haven’t gotten there yet.
LW: Maybe on the second or third record we’ll get around the putting the parental advisory sticker on there.
BE: Maybe during your rebellious period.
TS: Exactly! We’ll also put out a Christian album to come back from that.
LW: Then the folk/acoustic record.
TS: Sure, but not until long after the greatest-hits album…which, by the way, will be our second album. (Laughs)
LW: You do know he’s recording all of this, right?
TS: (Spots the recorder on the table) Oh, God, you’re already recording? Well, then, look, let me just say this right now: we are a very serious band, and we do not joke around.
(Predictably, the entire band bursts into laughter at this comment.)